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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 26, 2012

 
Battle of the millionaires

by David Atkins

One of the less watched stories of the Presidential election is noted foreign casino magnate/family values champion Sheldon Adelson's attempt to pry away the Jewish vote. There are some doubts that it will work: American Jews aren't really going to cozy up to a party of hate and intolerance because President Obama advocates a two-state solution and caution on Iran, and doesn't get along with the far-right Netanyahu. After all, Israelis themselves aren't terribly happy with Netanyahu right now.

Still, Greg Sargent reports that a group of Democratic-friendly millionaires is seeking to push back on Adelson's well-funded blitz:

So how seriously are Dems taking the possibility that Obama could lose Jewish votes, now that billionaire Sheldon Adelson is planning a multi-million-dollar campaign to hammer Obama over Israel?

A group of wealthy and influential Democrats is quietly putting together their own effort to raise several million dollars to counter Adelson’s efforts in key swing states, by aggressively pushing back on criticism of Obama’s record on Israel and to remind Jewish voters that he agrees with them on domestic issues they care about, I’m told.

The effort — which involves Dems like Harvey Weinstein and Rahm Emanuel — is effectively an acknowledgment that Dems need to take the possibility of Jewish defections seriously, that Republicans have gotten an early start in their efforts to peel off swing state Jewish voters, and that small shifts could impact the outcome...

Many Dems believe the key to preventing Jewish defections is that Jews are not one-issue voters on Israel, and on domestic issues are much more in sync with Democrats. So the pushback will also emphasize choice, health care, education, social justice and marriage equality.

“These are the issues we’re taught as Jews to support,” Stanley says. “Tikkun Olam — to repair the world. That’s why Jews historically vote Democratic.”
That's all well and good, of course. As long as our election laws are what they are, it's important for those with wealth and morals to counter those who have an ample amount of the former and scant regard for the latter.

But over the long run, as long as millionaires completely control our elections the rest of us are going to be mere window shoppers in our putative democracy. Campaign finance reform, including revisiting the idea of corporate personhood and the constitutionality of money as speech, is going to be key to repairing our electoral world.


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